Deposit. Cash ?

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    Deposit. Cash ?

    Hi all.

    I am new to the forum.

    I have only one property that was occupied for 6 years by a polish family. One of them was a secretary at my wife's office so everything went very smoothly.

    They left very suddenly and found a replacement who they introduced as friends. The previous family were very nice and easy to work with but these friends have been a nightmare.

    I didn't think much of it because the old family had vouched for them but surprisingly enough they are no longer reachable.

    When this family moved in we agreed a rate and they wanted electricity and water to be included. We agreed on certain usages that they said were from their old house. We also agreed that they would pay any excess. Unfortunately this is not in writting.

    I got my first bill today and it was 4 times what they said they would use. I contacted them by e-mail and simply received back "you are paying electric". They appear to not speak great english when it suits them ...

    My question is what grounds do I have here ? Nothing about bills of any kind is mentioned on our tenancy agreement. I just found one online and used it. It has their name on, the monthly rent and the deposit amount.

    Can I hold on to some of their deposit if they refuse to pay the excess bill ? I know I haven't handled this very well but I inherited this property and property tycoon I am not. I know I handled it badly in terms of no writing. I've tried google but get a lot of unhelpful information. Can anyone give me any advice ?

    #2
    If you have a tenancy agreement, however badly written it is, you may be able to convince the utility suppliers that you are not responsible for the usage since the tenants moved in. However, why are you agreeing to pay utilities and why have you not put the bills direct into the tenant's names? The tenant is the consumer of the power, water etc, so the contract is between the supplier and the tenant - you wouldn't expect to pick up the tenant's bill for grocery shopping, and utilities are no different.

    As you seem very green about letting (legally even if you are not a "property tycoon", you are still running a letting business) I very much fear what else you have overlooked and could get yourself in major trouble with.

    The deposit you want to "hold on to some of" - have you protected it in a government scheme and given your tenants the prescribed information from the scheme you used? This has been law since April 2007!

    I suspect you need to gen up on letting and make sure you are not leaving yourself open to any more skeletons in the cupboard. Read this:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/...2&postcount=12

    To return to your tenants - whereabouts are they in their tenancy? Has fixed term ended? I would suggest you issue them notice at the earliest opportunity to get rid of them. Never take any tenants on face value - did you credit check and reference these? Sounds unlikely.

    The notice must be issued correctly to be valid, and will not end the tenancy, but gives them 2 months notice that you will apply to evict them. TBH, the process can be done yourself, but as it is so critical it is 100% correct, you may be better paying someone professional to handle it for you.

    I appreciate you are "new to this" - we were all in a similar position once, but there are those who research and try to learn everything they can about how to do it legally and correctly, and those that don't and get badly bitten, sued and fined ...

    Advice - get rid, get new tenants, check and vet them thoroughly and do not use a random tenancy agreement which could have been written by anyone ...

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Yes I have messed it up. I read about that scheme a few weeks after the agreement started. Me and my wife actually had a heated discussion about it and I ended up leaving it. Now it's going to bite me because even if they've damaged the property, I doubt I can keep any of the deposit.

      Green to letting I most certainly am. Assuming they use the same bills, this property will of cost me more if I had just left it standing. My brother usually handles these things and the last family were extremely laid back. They transferred rent at weird times but were very nice people and I always got it. These guys pay rent religiously but do not act nicely. They called me up screaming on christmas eve about the heating going down. I told them it was xmas eve, nobody would be working and if they found someone I would pay him. Well what came next convinced me that I had made a big mistake with these guys. Constant calls from different family members saying the same thing for 3 hours.

      I don't know why I agreed to pay utility bills. At the time of the negotiation I had my wife hammering on in my ear. After reading your response, she's been informed she's having no more say in it. This tennant told me the last two properties have included utilities so I just went with it.

      We agreed they would leave next month fortunately as they have found another place. I doubt there's any point trying to convince the utility company. I wouldn't be comfortable lying and anything that started with "I agreed to pay the bills but only up to £X a month" will likely not end well for me.

      Starting from when I come back from work tomorrow, I am going to start reading up on everything I need to know. From what I have read, this business favours the tenants to a high level. It's a bad time to sell property so I guess I have no choice other than to learn. I might frequent these forums more.

      Comment


        #4
        No, the business does not favour tenants - tenants actually have more to lose, so they research and find out about their rights to a greater degree ... whilst landlords tend to just jump in, rake in the rent and only start squealling about the injustice of it all they find their lack of research has created just such an issue as you have now.

        If you have failed to protect the tenant's deposit, you have to return the whole amount now, and even then, tenants could still sue you for up to 3x the deposit amount for non-protection.

        Have you received written notice that the tenants are leaving next month? If not, please do not take their word for it - like you did over their reliability as good tenants. Issue your own notice to start to ball rolling to get them out, as I can see next month, and the one after that, coming and going with tenants still there ... but you have to return the deposit first, as you cannot issue valid notice with a non-protected deposit still in your possession. Search for Section 21 notice or S21 in the forums to get an idea of what is involved, as it is a precise process, but will guarantee you possession of the property if you get it right.

        Have you got Gas Safety Cert? EPC? What about declaring the rental income for tax?

        Comment


          #5
          Deposit. Cash ?

          I have been having a lovely e-mail exchange with my tenant all day and they are being horrendous.

          Tenant: We will leave on X April. Come here with cash deposit.

          Me: I may not be able to bring it in cash. I can transfer the money to you through my phone at the time you give the keys back. You can check this straight away

          Tenant: WE PAY YOU CASH DEPOSIT. YOU MUST RETURN £YZ IN CASH TO US WHEN YOU ARRIVE FOR HAND

          Before I get embroiled in my 5th argument of the day with these guys can someone confirm if they have a leg to stand on. Can they demand cash or can I insist on bank transfer only ?

          Sorry if this is a silly question but it's been a long day and I have to be up for work at 6. This landlord business is exhausting.

          Comment


            #6
            Please do not start another thread on the same subject - this relates to the tenancy you are already discussing and the replies and info in that thread are relevant to this. Keep it all together - I will ask mods to tack this onto the end of that thread for clarity.

            You return the deposit now as you have not protected it - you can sue separately for losses or damage, but the non-protected deposit is the tenant's money and you are best to return it asap, not wait until the end of the tenancy as you are already in the wrong for not protecting it in the first place.

            Cash, cheque, bank transfer, just return it and hope they don't sue you!

            Comment


              #7
              Two related threads have been merged.
              I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

              Comment

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